Morning Breath: What It Is And Why You Have It

Morning Breath: What It Is And Why You Have It

You wake in the morning from a deep slumber and the first thought that runs through your mind is: How bad does my breath smell? If you sleep next to a partner, you may quickly cover your mouth before speaking to them. It’s imperative to shield them from that powerful, unpleasant aroma, unless they are into that sort of thing.

Everyone has morning breath to a certain degree, according to periodontists. While you sleep, the mouth dries out and odor-producing bacteria proliferate. The mouth dries out because the normal saliva flow decreases when you are asleep. If you snore or breathe through your mouth while sleeping, there’s a higher chance of having bad breath, when compared to those who breathe through their noses. No matter how you breathe when you sleep, the mouth is prone to dryness and bacterial growth.

The lack of saliva flow may not seem like an issue, but it is. Saliva works to clear out food particles that fuel odor-producing bacteria in the mouth. When there is less saliva in the mouth, the bacteria capitalize. That’s why mouth dryness is the leading cause of bad breath, and more specifically morning breath. 

Causes Of Bad Breath

Mouth dryness isn’t the only culprit. There are other causes that contribute to bad breath, or halitosis, but it depends on the person. Certain medications may increase mouth dryness over night, which worsens bad breath. Older people who take more medications tend to experience worse breath upon waking up in the morning. 

It’s also common for cigarette smokers to have worse breath in the morning. Not only does smoking dry up saliva, but it also increases the temperature of the mouth. This combination makes the mouth the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that make your breath smell foul. If that isn’t on your list of reasons to quit smoking, it should be. 

Lastly, it’s very possible for allergies to cause bad breath. People with seasonal allergies commonly experience postnasal drip, which involves mucus dripping down the back of the throat. This mucus becomes a food source for bacteria. Postnasal drip that gets infected will only increase the presence of odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. 

Can You Treat Bad Breath?

There are ways to reduce the effects of morning breath, one of the primary of which is practicing proper oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing before bed helps to get rid of pockets of food that are magnets for bacteria. It’s also beneficial to clean the tongue in the morning to remove any bacteria that accumulate overnight. In order to clean the tongue properly, you’ll need to invest in a tongue scraper, a toothbrush with soft bristles, or even a spoon. 

If the tongue is pink and shiny, it is not harboring a lot of bacteria. If you notice a white film on the tongue, however, it does have bacteria and you probably have bad breath. Want confirmation of that odor? Lick your clean wrist, allow it to dry, and then smell it. You can get rid of the white film by using a tongue scraper or spoon, or simply brushing the tongue with a soft-bristled toothbrush. 

This may be a more unconventional approach, but gargling with baking soda before bed may reduce the likelihood of foul morning breath. Dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in one cup of water and gargle it for one minute. This is completely safe and helps establish and alkaline environment in the mouth, which helps to kill bacteria. 

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